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Proms and princesses: The Disney generation grows up

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Mark Watson/Black Hills Pioneer/AP

(Read caption) Proms and princesses: the Disney generation grows up and goes to high school, but the desire to look and feel like a princess does not necessarily go away. Savvy marketers have capitalized on the trend, and parents are paying for it. In this April 12, 2012 photo, Hunter Schmuk, left, and Alyssa Shomake pose in prom dresses in Spearfish, S.D.

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What do little girls in princess dresses and teenagers at proms have in common? More than you might think!

Last week, a new survey found that nationwide, U.S. teens and their families will spend an average of $1,000 on this year’s prom. In my region, the northeast, the average is double that–a whopping $2,000 per family. With such numbers, the article argues, “Prom is the new wedding.”

Related: Are you a Helicopter Parent? Take our quiz to find out!

Why is lavish spending on proms on the rise? USA Today reports:

Teen girls view prom as their “red-carpet moment” and are “heavily influenced” by celebrities who walk actual red carpets in designer gowns. “It’s a rite of passage, and there’s a legacy of how you look at your prom. Girls want to dress to impress.”

In other words, the intense consumerism of prom may be fueled by a wish to be like a celebrity for a night: the center of attention, all eyes on her, enjoying the spotlight.

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